Chapel Hill: Obituaries

Irene Julia Barnes

Irene Julia Barnes, age 84, formerly of Leesburg, VA, died Friday, June 5, 2015 in Chapel Hill, NC. A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, June 12, 2015, at The Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC.

Irene was born May 24, 1931 in Detroit, MI to George and Julia Samu, who had recently emigrated from Hungary. She graduated from Flint, MI Central High School in 1949. She attended Michigan State University where she received a degree in Education in 1953. She married Bruce Herbert Barnes, from Birmingham, MI on June 20, 1953.

Irene and Bruce started married life with a tour of duty with the United States Air Force in Denver, CO and then returned to Michigan State where Bruce completed doctoral studies in Computer Science while Irene taught kindergarten. After a year at the Jet Propulsion Lab, in Pasadena, CA, Bruce joined the Computer Science Department at Pennsylvania State University in 1961, and Irene was responsible for caring for 3 young children. As her children grew older, Irene pursued a Master’s Degree in Special Education at Penn State and taught children with learning disabilities in the public schools in the area.

In 1974, Bruce joined the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC and the family moved to Springfield, VA. There Irene spent 20years as a teacher for children with learning disabilities in an elementary school close to their home. The friends she made through teaching became the couple’s main social group for over 30 years with monthly dinners, and wonderful times together. In 1995, Bruce was detailed to the Office of Naval Research in London. Irene and Bruce spent 2 exciting years exploring the city, much of Great Britain, and Europe.

Soon after returning from London Irene and Bruce retired to Leesburg, VA. They spent several years participating in academic courses that focused on the history of Loudon County, VA and they volunteered as ushers at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Irene had many close friends who enriched her life immeasurably. The most important and rewarding focus of her life was her family. Irene is survived by her daughter Karen Taylor and her husband Dick Taylor, of Chapel Hill, NC; her daughter Sandra Nash and her husband Sean Nash, of Austin, TX; her son David Barnes and his wife Barbara Gregory of Richmond, VA; her brothers Bill Samu and Joe Samu of Birch Run, MI; her brother-in-law Bob Barnes and his wife Carol Barnes of Chesterfield, MO; her grandchildren John Taylor and his wife Katie Taylor, Julia Taylor, Brendan Nash, Kathleen Nash, and Sam Barnes; nieces and nephews Dawn Creighton, Dan Samu, Ken Barnes, Cathy Gallaher, Andy Barnes, Donald Barnes, Bob Barnes, Suzanne Barnes and their families. She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband Bruce. She was very blessed to meet her great-grandson Luke Taylor who was born May 2, 2015.

Memorials may be made to the Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC, 27514

Condolences may be sent to the family at 30176 Ruffins, Chapel Hill, NC, 27517.

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